Giving back: One Woman and Her One Hundred Acre Wood.
As the world continues to transform from a once green and lush Eden to a pulsating mass of concrete and steel shrouded in brown haze, the inhabitants of that green world struggle with this change. Habitats are demolished to make way for shopping malls, gas stations and parking lots. Trees are replaced with telephone poles and street lights. Swamps are drained, filled and paved over. Road ways divide territories and turn wide expanses of wild into fragments of untamed space. For many of the animals living in these areas, highways become certain death traps. Many of them die slow, painful deaths in the streets—bewildered by headlights; powerless against then endless stream of cars hurtling at unforgiving speeds. Man’s advancement does little to no favors for the natural world. So what can we do to change that?
Linda Christian has an answer. She is the founder of 100 Acre Wood, a non-profit organization that focuses on rehabilitating injured animals and finding homes for displaced ones. Christian works for Brooksville animal control during the day… a job that allows her to network with veterinarians, Florida Fish and Wildlife, the SPCA, the Humane Society and many other organizations. She also makes appearances at different schools in the area, often bringing baby raccoons or squirrels that can help teach children about nature’s fragility.
After her day job, she returns to her home at 100 Acre Wood. The baby duck needs water. The turtle with the cracked shell needs his medication. Mij, the otter, wants to play and the baby squirrels need to be fed.
Christian moves with purpose through her property which is actually less than two acres. Thick clouds of mosquitoes don’t deter her from attending to all the animals who ended up victims of this industrialized world. One of the deer she tends to has three legs. Her fourth leg was taken when someone hit her with a lawn mower. Another deer has a growth the size of a grapefruit on its face. Huge cages filled with macaws, cockateels and other large birds line one corner of her property. One of the cockateels suffered from a broken wing and foot when its owner hit it with a broom. Many of the birds have outlived their owners. Some of them will outlive Christian.
While I pause to talk to the birds and take a few videos, Christian turns her attention to the baby squirrels who came under her care when their nest was chopped down along with the spring’s new tree growth. One of them was still too young to open its eyes. She fills a tiny eyedropper with a mixture of heavy cream and puppy milk and gently feeds them until their bellies are round again.
As I watched her feeding these helpless little squirrels, I couldn’t help but wish that there were more safe havens like the 100 Acre Wood. As we continue to take from the earth, we must eventually ask ourselves when we will reach the point of diminishing returns. When should we stop taking and start giving back? At what point did we decide to cut the rose bush down instead of stopping to smell it’s sweet fragrance? Are we going to continue pillaging this planet for all it’s worth, past the point of no return or learn to be good stewards of it before it really is too late? After looking into the eyes of these lost or injured animals, I’m convinced that we past that point a long time ago. Christian, on the other hand, stays positive and keeps her sights on the future. Tomorrow she and her baby squirrels have an appointment at a school… an appointment that will hopefully plant a seed of care and compassion in the next generation of earthly stewards.